The win streak to start the season ends at ten for the University of Hawaiʻi women’s volleyball team. The No. 13 Rainbow Wahine (10-1) lost in straight sets to No. 5 Baylor Bears to take their first loss of the season Sunday morning at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.
Hanna Hellvig led the team with 12 kills in the loss. The freshman outside hitter was the only Hawaiʻi player with double digit kills. As a team, the Wahine hit just 26% while surrendering a 39% hit rate to Baylor. The Bears, meanwhile, had three players reach double digits. Yossiana Pressley had a game high 19 kills, with Shelly Stafford not far behind at 18 kills.
To begin set one, neither team was willing to give an inch, trading blows en route to a 7-7 tie. The game soon got out of hand however, as a 9-2 Baylor run pushed the lead to 19-11. Hawaiʻi fought back, but it was too little too late as the Bears cruised to a 25-19 set one win. Hellvig led the team with 5 kills in the set.
Set two began to the Wahine’s favor. The 3-0 start gave Hawaiʻi the early lead, while a 10-9 back and forth helped maintain the lead at 13-9. A 4-0 run solidified the lead later in the set, giving the Wahine a 17-10 lead. The scoring run was paced by senior setter Bailey Choy’s 3 service run. The ‘Bows appeared to lose focus there, falling victim to a 15-6 Baylor blitz to lose the early set advantage. Hawaiʻi missed the chance to move the game into a tie, conceding the 25-23 set two victory to the Bears and giving Baylor a commanding 2-0 lead in the game.
As the Bears set their sights on the Baylor Classic trophy, Hawaiʻi put up a strong fight in the crucial third set. The Wahine drew first blood on a Baylor error, but quickly lost the lead on back to back Pressley kills. The process repeated throughout the set, resulting in 12 ties and 5 lead changes. Halfway through the set, Hawaiʻi used a 5-1 run to take the 13-11 lead, but later lost it again following a Baylor 4-0 run to make it 17-19. While the Bears continued to score, the ‘Bows made a strong effort to come back and eventually tied the set at 22. But the rally had taken its toll on Hawaiʻi , as they gave up the final three points to Baylor to drop the set 22-25.
The loss was the Wahine’s first of the year, dropping them to 10-1 on the season. Hawaiʻi narrowly missed out on being one of the final two undefeated teams in NCAA D1, ceding that honor to Baylor instead. The season is still young however, and the ‘Bows, sporting an excellent 10-1 record, prepare to begin conference play against Long Beach State in California.
The Rainbow Wahine take on the 49ers at the Walter Pyramid on Sep. 27 at 4 p.m. HST.